Italian law enforcement officials made a mass arrest in Palermo on Monday, taking 95 suspected Mafia members into custody.
The charges amongst those arrested span many crimes and date back several years. The arrest also led police to solve a crime more than 100 years after it occurred.
According to the New York Daily News, arrested suspect Domenico Palazzotto has been recorded claiming “the uncle of his father, Paolo Palazzotto, committed the murder of the first police officer killed in Palermo, Joe Petrosino.”
Petrosino was a New York Police Department detective who was murdered in 1909. As head of the homicide division, he was tasked with cracking down on the mafia in New York, specifically focusing on Don Vito Cascio Ferro. His ultimate murder, for which no suspect was charged, took place after he traveled to meet an informer in Palermo, Sicily.
The recent admission was captured on a phone conversation recorded by police, in which Palazzotto also admitted Petrosino was murdered on orders from Ferro. The mafia boss who ordered the murder had reportedly been living in hiding in Sicily at the time of the murder, where he had retreated after being acquitted of murder charges in the United States.
Although it has taken more than 100 years for police to solve Petrosino’s murder, law enforcement officials have been gathering intelligence for their recent mass arrest for just two years. The discovery was a result of that investigation, which had been code named “Operation Apocalypse.” The lengthy investigation led to arrests that police Colonel Calogero Scibetta claims “wiped out two entire mob families.”
According to the Daily Mail, those arrested face charges ranging from drug trafficking to money laundering and extortion.